He came down to earth from heaven
Who is God and Lord of all,
And his shelter was a stable,
And his cradle was a stall;
With the poor and mean and lowly
Lived on earth our Saviour Holy
There has been much in the public realm recently concerning communication.
Lord justice Leveson enquiry has created a fierce debate with those on the side of the freedom of the press decrying any infringement on their rights to tell the world what they think the world wants to hear: and those on the side of people who's privacy has been invaded, usually at a time of heightened personal crisis or tragedy. It remains to be seen how far this debate will go in changing the nature of our society and the way in which we stay informed.
This month of December marked the 20th anniversary of the first txt message sent. Given that I expect everyone of us in church has sent or received a txt message it seems incredible that it they have only been around 20 years. Can you imagine your day without a txt, can you sustain your friendships and express your love and concern or simple delight in another person without txt? I expect for many of us it would seem inconceivable. From the moment that first text was sent our world and society changed for ever.
And finally there was the tragic results if a hoax call, Mel Grieg and Michael Christian, the Australian DJ’s behind the hoax call to King Edward 7th hospital . A harmless bit of fun turning into shocking loss, a moment of foolishness having far reaching consequences. For Nurse Jacintha Saldanha it was moment of communication that changed her life for ever and resulted in the terrible consequences of her suicide.
At the heart of the Christmas story is the desire of God to communicate, us his creation his sons and daughters. To send a message, to reach out, to create a story that still has the power to change peoples lives and the life of our world.
But God is no hack, or devious reporter determined to use any means necessary to get his story, his Good News, into the public domain.
God choose to use a seemingly ordinary event, the birth of a child, to herald an event of world changing proportions.
God choose not to use the wonders of technology, the ability to instantly connect and convince, but the everyday and ordinary around us, dreams, stars and lowly shepherds.
God choose to intervene in human history, a decision that in some people's eyes is as foolish as a hoax call, but one that has far reaching implications, not for death but for life.
This month gave the world another first – the first Tweet by the Pope. Indeed I too have joined the tweeting community by following his example and sent my first tweet two weeks ago.
Some see texting as destructive to traditional forms of communication, and although it is a view that I have a great deal of sympathy with, there is some truth in the claim of those in favour that it is simply another form of communication which has become part of the fabric of our modern world.
Greg Burke, the senior media adviser to the Vatican, explained that the @Pontifex Twitter name was chosen because it means Pope and it also means 'bridge builder'.
Such bridge building through different avenues is part of the Christian tradition. The Christmas story celebrates a God who communicates in diverse and creative ways –A drama which features the worlds of prophets, angelic visitations, and then supremely, God becoming a human being. “ He came down to earth from heave, Who is God and Lord of all”
It’s the way of building a bridge in a way that human beings can receive and understand. Indeed it is estimated that around 8 trillion txts are sent a year, I wonder how many of the worlds 7 billion humans will wish another person a happy Christmas today by sending a txt?
And that would be an interesting challenge, if you have not already risen to it this Christmas, when you have a moment why not send a message of no more than 140 characters – a tweet – to convey all the joy and hope and love that is revealed as we gaze anew on the child born of Mary.
I will finish as I began with words of another well known hymn which we will sing togthter at the end of our service, words that for me powerfully convey the esense of what our celebration at Christmas is all about
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings
ris’n with healing in his wings;
mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
And if you are interested that is 195 characters- I think?